FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — The newest addition to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue was pushed into the firehouse, not because it doesn’t operate but because it’s tradition.
Friday, Sheriff Al Lambert and Fire Chief Neal de Jesus, along with the help of the department’s Technical Rescue Team, welcomed Squad 32, a 42-foot long heavy rescue truck that is now part of the Regional Technical Rescue Team.
But instead of driving it into the station, the traditional housing ceremony consists of pushing it in and washing its wheels.
The housing ceremony tradition dates back to the 19th century, when the era of hub and spoke wooden wheels was the norm on fire trucks. The wheels of the fire truck were always washed down after it returned from a fire, to keep the wooden wheels from drying and cracking from the exposure to the heat and soot.
The other ritual originated when fire trucks were horse-drawn. After the horses were released from the truck, the firemen pushed the truck back into the station upon returning from a run.
So in addition to helping with the “push-in”, Sheriff Lambert also washed down its tires.
BSFR’s Regional Technical Rescue Team, which specializes in machinery and vehicle extrication, building collapse, high-angle, trench and difficult rescues will use Squad 32 to carry additional equipment needed for difficult and extended rescue operations.
The truck also has an on-board air cascade system that can refill firefighters’ breathing air tanks at a fire. In addition to the variety of specialized rescue tools, Squad 32 is also equipped with a generator and scene lighting.